Fecal α1-proteinase inhibitor concentration in dogs with chronic gastrointestinal disease

K. F. Murphy, A. J. German, C. G. Ruaux, J. M. Steiner, D. A. Williams, E. J. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Fecal α1-proteinase inhibitor (α1-PI) clearance is a reliable, noninvasive marker for protein-losing enteropathy in human beings. An assay for use in dogs has been developed and validated. Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate fecal α1-PI concentration in dogs with chronic gastrointestinal disease, compared with healthy dogs, and to assess its correlation with serum albumin concentration. Methods: Fecal samples were collected from 2 groups of dogs. Group 1 consisted of 21 clinically healthy client-owned dogs without signs of gastrointestinal disease. Group 2 consisted of 16 dogs referred for investigation of suspected gastrointestinal disease. On the basis of gastric and duodenal biopsies, group 2 was further subdivided into dogs with normal histology (n = 9) and those with histologic abnormalities (n = 7: inflammatory bowel disease, n = 3; lymphangiectasia, n = 4). An ELISA was used to measure α1-PI concentrations in fecal extracts. Results: Fecal α1-PI concentrations, expressed as μg/g of feces, were not significantly different between groups 1 and 2 as a whole. However, fecal α1-PI concentrations (median, minimum-maximum) were significantly higher in dogs with gastrointestinal diseases associated with histologic abnormalities (60.6 μg/g, 7.4-201.7 μg/g) compared with dogs with normal histology (3.8 μg/g, 0.7-74.0 μg/g) and control dogs (9.9 μg/g, 0.0-32.1 μg/g). There was no significant correlation between fecal α1-PI and serum albumin concentrations in dogs with gastrointestinal disease. Conclusions: Increased fecal α1-PI concentration may signal the need to obtain gastrointestinal biopsies for a final diagnosis. Fecal α1-PI concentration may be a useful test for early detection of protein-losing enteropathy before decreases in serum albumin concentration can be detected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-72
Number of pages6
JournalVeterinary Clinical Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Albumin
  • Dog
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Lymphangiectasia
  • Protein-losing enteropathy
  • α-proteinase inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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